Monday, January 28, 2013

Bloody Sawn Beginnings: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2005)

The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Beginning (2005)
rating: ****
starring:  Jordana Brewster, Matt Bomer and Diora Baird

...Seriously? Y'all hating this masterpiece, seriously?

I don't know whether it's the bad advertising, or the fact a lot of people is just tired of going through the same splat attack ever since movies like SAW and Hostel took over that year, but one thing is certain about this movie and that is it deserves a second loving.

At a meatshop in 1939 Texas, an obese preggie dies at work while giving birth to a sick yet breathing baby boy. The manager then carelessly threw away the baby to a nearby dumpster, where so happens a young Mae Hewitt was scavenging for meat and finds him. She took the baby home with her, thus begins baby Thomas' life as a Hewitt.

Thirty years later, Thomas, now a grown man ridden with a rare skin disease that ate most of his face away (and wears an animal skin mask. Thus "Leatherface"), works in the same meat shop his real mother died in, which is now closing after health inspectors deemed it for it's horrible condition. After being insulted, Thomas murders his boss with a sledgehammer before stealing a chainsaw, the murder heard over the police station during a failed 911 attempt. Sheriff Hoyt then escorts Thomas' uncle Charlie in hopes he can help him take down his nephew for the murder, but Charlie murders him instead otherwise, saying that "there's nothing wrong with his boy", taking the Sheriff's identity later on and butchers him for food.

All the while, two brothers enlisting to go to Vietnam are traveling cross country with their girlfriends got in a hustle between a biker gang, who one of them proceeds to stalk and chase them in a robbery attempt later on. Unfortunately for the biker chick, "Hoyt" got there and quickly murders her, before abducting the teens; one of them, Chrissie, got thrown out and lands further away during the crash, obscuring her from the rest, forcing her to watch everything unfold in front of her. By the time Hoyt takes away her friends, Chrissie has no choice but to muster up and follow them to the Hewitts, gone mad from hunger and poverty. But can she save them all from being lunch meat if what's she's up against is a hulking brute armed with a chainsaw?

Let me first point out the movie's limitations; while it has some great plot angles, TCM The Beginning is still a slasher film that does everything by the book with nothing more to stand out than the point it's an origin story and it has more gore compared to the 2003 reboot. It tries to compete with the torture filled cinemas of that year, leaving it to do more gore shots rather than genuine scares. Now, I already accepted that majority of our modern slashers lacks any real scares (with varying level of tolerance) and their main focus is often in piling up bodies in every creative way possible, but what it lacks in that department, I often look elsewhere, and in here, I find it in the flow of the story and the actual tone of it.

TCM The Beginning works a little better as a period piece than TCM 2003; with the inclusion of the Vietnam war and the movie's very barren premises, it helps settle the hopeless feel this movie has and the reason to why these family has no problem eating other people. (Something the 2003 remake failed to live up or even hinted) There's also some very great acting here, especially the two roles by Matthew Bome and Taylor Handley as brothers who has bickering ideas about the war, filling yet again some insights to the movie's mood. R. Lee Ermey returns to reprise his role as the homicidal sexual deviant Sheriff Hoyt, who's still a nasty addition to the Texas Chainsaw mythology; though here, we actually see more of his bad side as a demanding pervert with a penchant for torture and murder, again acting as a realistic contrast to the hollywood-ized monster that is Leatherface. The rest heavily relied in shock value brought in by the gore and a meatier saw action that I really felt the 2003 entry kinda missed, with a still-menacing looking killer, who honestly should had stick with the animal skin mask he mostly wore in this movie than the supposedly iconic face mask (don't hate me), to go along with these kills to make it all better for me.

This is a brutal and beautiful movie, honestly, and I wouldn't blame you if you think I'm crazy. Maybe it's the unrestricted gore speaking to me, but I see TCM The Beginning as that one kind of movie that grows into you after repeated viewing and,compared to the rest of the franchise, might be the only one that actually lives up to the Chainsaw Massacre. I believe this is a winning draw, and anybody else who wants to stone me for that can kiss my proud love-cheeks!

1 female dies from birth complications
1 male sledgehammer to the head
1 male shot on the head with shotgun
1 female shot with shotgun
1 male sliced in half with chainsaw
1 male ran through with chainsaw
1 female throat cut with shears
1 male ran through the chest with chainsaw
1 female gets chainsaw through the back
2 males ran over by car
total: 11


  1. I didn't realize this one was frequently reviled. I like it a little better than the remake in some things. I think it captures the 70s style of trashy movie better than the previous picture which was more like a dark fairy tale.

    The BEGINNING does have a more mean-spirited tone, which I think might have put some people off. The only major negative I recall with it is that it wasn't much of a BEGINNING. It seemed more of an excuse to do the same movie over again.

    It's a masterpiece compared to the newest one, though!

    1. It's hated by a lot of fans and critics, and only a handful really love it. Personally, this is the best entry in the franchise and yes, a lot better than the half-and-half TC3D.